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Christie awards funding to addiction-treatment providers

Christie awards funding to addiction-treatment providers

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Gov. Chris Christie, whose term ends in less than two weeks, is making some last-minute moves to fund opioid and addiction treatment in New Jersey.

The governor announced Tuesday the state is awarding more than $35 million to providers and services for those with severe opioid-use disorders, and pregnant and postpartum mothers and older adults dependent on opioid painkillers.

Among the dozen or so providers getting money is Oaks Integrated Care, an addiction-treatment and recovery support provider based in Burlington County that also serves people in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

“Expanding our mission and continuum of care through addiction programs gives individuals and families in our communities increased access to critical services,” Oaks CEO Derry Holland said in a statement.

Oaks and Beacon Health Options of Boston, which serves Central and North Jersey, will each get $10 million to run emergency care management programs, which provide services for people with severe opioid disorders and people who have experienced an overdose.

Emergency care management programs provide services for people discharged from licensed treatment facilities, New Jersey State Prison treatment programs, state psychiatric hospitals, acute-care hospitals and Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals.

People admitted to opioid maintenance outpatient and intensive outpatient services also will be eligible.

Oaks officials said the funding will bring 80 new jobs to South Jersey with sites in Camden, Atlantic and Cumberland counties as well as in-community mobile response teams.

The distribution of funding is part of Christie’s $200 million plan announced in September that detailed how the state could better tackle opioid addiction and improve prevention, treatment and recovery support.

The state Department of Health will give an additional $8.6 million to emergency care management providers in performance-based incentive grants. These providers are expected to treat 1,800 people who are Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible, with priority in Camden, Essex and Ocean counties.

The Health Department will also award $5 million in new contracts to expand integrated substance abuse treatment and medical care for pregnant women and new mothers addicted to heroin and other opioids.

State officials said they expect the contracts to provide residential treatment for at least 882 women.

Between 500 and 630 babies have been born each year since 2011 with neonatal abstinence syndrome, state data show. Within hours of birth, babies born to addicted mothers can experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Among the five providers awarded contracts were Robins’ Nest ($635,286), which has locations in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Vineland, and Barnegat and Stafford townships, and Cooper Health System ($1.5 million).

The state Department of Health also recently awarded $275,000 in federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration grants to five providers to educate older adults about the dangers of continued opioid use and the availability of alternative pain management.

“We owe it to our older residents to help them explore better, healthier means toward pain management,” Christie said.

Contact: 609-272-7022 NLeonard@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressNLeonard

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